Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Love Walked In

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
~ John 1:1-5

"And it's the greatest story ever told, that when it looked like there was no
more hope.  Love walked in through the door, face to face
with brokenness said, 'it's still worth dying for.'
Met the world with a kiss, walls fell down, When love walked in."
~ Love Walked In, Mark Schultz, 2012

So many stories I hear each day as a therapist.  Stories of brokenness and hopelessness.  One of these days, the dream I had long before I realized God was directing my steps towards becoming a counselor, will become a reality.  Until then I think of the all the little things that occur each day where I can see that "love walked in."  The times throughout my day or the day of a client where I can truly see God's hand.  While I know He is always with us and His hand is upon us, it's in those moments when I reflect back on my day or week and realize God had me the whole time...I can see it now.

One of the biggest struggles I'm seeing with my clients right now is such tall walls and an inability to trust others.  It breaks my heart because I see so much of my past reflecting back at me through their struggles.  I want to scream and shout that it gets better, that when all is said and done the one person most affected by the walls and inability to trust is the person putting the wall up and choosing not to trust.  I cannot explain in enough words that people who break trust have struggles all their own and their choices have nothing to do with the person they betrayed.  While I am fully aware that does not make trusting others easy and an automatic, "okay, what the heck, let's jump right on in to the deep end without knowing how to swim" kind of a response, I also know life is about taking risks and learning lessons.   There is no owners manual to the game of life (unless of course you are indeed playing the board game, "Life").  The best I can do as a counselor is trust that somewhere along the way what I share, how I push my clients to think beyond their circumstances, it will all sink in.  Or maybe I'm not the wisest person they ever talk to in their life and someone else is the one that pushes them to that "Ah Ha" moment.  I love what my co-worker reminds me almost daily..."we're planting seeds."  It's a good way to look at it and takes a tremendous amount of pressure off, sometimes.

The reason I really sat down to write tonight was that I felt disconnected from the very thing I love to do...talk to others.  I came home so incredibly sick today from a migraine and while I was forced to rest, because I could barely move to do anything else, I started thinking about my "love walked in" moments (as I like to call them).  You see there are a number of "moments" where I have no doubt that God walked in, He truly pulled me out of darkness and saved me.  One thing that I'm incredibly vocal about and blessed to be saved from is Anorexia Nervosa.  I see so much shame, guilt, and imprisonment amongst women who suffer from this disorder.  I see so much ignorance and insensitivity from those who struggle to educate themselves about it.  Don't get me wrong, there are a number of things I have failed to educate myself on so I can clearly identify my own sensitivity to people not understanding the disease of Anorexia, or any other eating disorder for that matter.  I know that I'm too close to it to allow myself to become too heated about it.  

My other significant "love walked in" moment is that of losing my nephew, Billy Jr., to SIDS at 5 months old.  While God has done a tremendous healing in my heart, I cannot help but look back on that season of life with such gratitude that despite my anger, God never let go of my heart.  In fact, He loved me so much that as I allowed Him to heal my heart what I got was one that beats stronger and has learned to love that much more greatly.  With my "love walked in" moments I have room to love deeply those who suffer from a disease that comes with such shame and guilt, as well as those who have faced the unexplainable loss of a child.  I'm no expert, but as I continue to trust God and His love for me, I hope and pray that love is reflected off me and onto others.

"We love because he first loved us."
~ 1 John 4:19

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dreaming With An Open Heart, An Open Hand

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
~ Ephesians 3:20-21

Have I told you that I'm a big dreamer?  I feel that it's a consistent theme throughout my postings, but if you're new to reading my blog, then you wouldn't necessarily know that yet.  I am, I love to dream.  I dream of my future, I dream of what my career will turn into over time, I dream of being a wife and a mom.  I wonder sometimes what it'll be like when I meet Jesus, what he'll say, what he'll look like.  Unfortunately my dreams lately have been a bit road blocked.  I've allowed myself to get caught up in the busyness of life and I fail to slow down long enough to do that in which I love...dream.  For some this may seem like a waste of time, building up something in one's mind that may not necessarily come true.  But you see, I have a big God... I mean A BIG GOD!  And He longs to see the deepest desires of my heart fulfilled.  Does it all match with His will for my life? Not always, but I've seen over time that when it doesn't there is so much relief in knowing that His ways are higher, His plan is better than any I could ever create in my wildest dreams.  God has blessed my dreaming heart more than I ever thought was possible.

The thing with dreaming though, is remembering to keep an open heart and an open hand.  That not every dream I dream will come to pass, and some will not come in the way that I thought or imagined.  Back in January of this year I had become discouraged and thought that I could control things and make things happen my own way, but what I found was a very broken heart and the realization that I was not trusting God with the deepest dream I think I've ever had.  So in early February I humbled myself, I went before God and friends closest to me.  I went before them broken and beautiful, revealing a long kept secret sin and as a result, God has revealed more truth and love than I could ever imagine possible.  It was in those early days of February that I truly laid down my deepest desire and dreams.  I chose to fully trust Him with a place in my heart that I for so long refused God to have control of.  Then early May came, my heart was healing, trusting and ready to take a leap of faith.  I knew that as I took this leap of faith I couldn't do it by my own will/power, but rather it had to be different.  If I am going to continue to dream, I'm going to continue to do so with the blessing of the Lord.  I am going to do so with an open heart and an open hand that He may change my dreams, or bring them to life more vividly than I could ever hope or imagine.  What I've seen is words come to life that only God has heard me cry out.  The longings of my heart so deep down that I kept it only between me and God is slowly coming to life.  Do I still get scared sometimes that the enemy is trying to trick me?  Yes, I do, but in those moments I remember to take it to the Lord daily.  To trust what He says is true and I'm gently reminded that fear is not from Him.  I chose to believe what I hoped for at the end of 2012.  I believe that 2013 is a year that will sweep me off my feet and take me by complete surprise.  Nearly 6 1/2 months in I'd be lying if I said it hasn't.

God is good, so much better than I think I've ever realized years prior to this year.  I don't know what God is up to, I don't know why so many times I believe that my way is better than His.  For it is when I fully trust Him and follow Him that I realize how powerful His love is for me.  Thank God for a dreaming heart!  Thank God that He does not allow me to fall into the cynicism of this world, that He's taken a broken/cold heart like mine and turned it into something loving, encouraged, and hopeful.

"For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline." ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)